Taiwan’s pro-independence opposition is hoping that more than half a million people will take to the capital’s streets Sunday to protest President Ma Ying-jeou’s China policies.
A march organised by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is due to begin in downtown Taipei at around 2:30 pm (0630 GMT), followed by an all-night sit-in protest in the square where the presidential office is located.
In the DPP stronghold of southern Kaohsiung city, thousands of people are expected to join a rally organised by radical pro-independence groups.
The demonstrators say that Taiwan’s sovereignty and interests have been compromised by Ma’s China policies, an accusation flatly rejected by the president.
Relations between Taiwan and its former bitter rival China, which split in 1949 at the end of a civil war, had hit rock bottom amid perceived provocative anti-China remarks by Ma’s DPP predecessor Chen Shui-bian.
But they improved dramatically after Ma was inaugurated in May last year.
The two sides have since held three rounds of meetings and signed a raft of agreements that led to regular direct flights across the Taiwan Strait, a steep rise in the number of Chinese tourist arrivals, and greater cooperation between Taipei and Beijing.